The Rector's daughter, Mary Jocelyn, is "a decline... as much a part of her village as its homely hawthorns." Mary's mother is long dead, her brothers have both left England, and Ruth, her sick sister, requires constant care. Her father, Canon Jocelyn "rather despise[s] the rest of Europe" and is "an austere critic of young women, demanding little of them in action, but everything in repose." Mary's few acquaintances are old family friends to whom she feels more obligation than true affection and, try as she might to deny it, she knows all tenderness in her father died with her mother. Now a middle-aged spinster, Mary is used to being lonely, but she cannot stop longing for love. Then Mr. Herbert, the son of her father's old friend, moves into the neighborhood. Slowly, surely and without intention on either one's part, love blossoms. Love so strong that Mary cannot speak of it or control her blissful fantasies. When Mr. Herbert leaves for the seashore to recover from a chill, they both believe he will return to ask for Mary's hand in marriage. An elegantly written and scathingly honest account of society, manners, and marriage, The Rector's Daughter is a fiercely passionate and quietly tender story of love and loss. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen
From the Publisher
Dedmayne Rectory is quietly decaying, its striped chintz and darkened rooms a bastion of outmoded Victorian values. Here Mary has spent thirty-five years devoting herself to her sister, now dead, and to her father, Canon Jocelyn. Although she is pitied by her neighbors for this muted existence, Mary is content. But when she meets Robert Herbert, Mary's ease is destroyed and years of suppressed emotion surface through her desire for him. First published in 1924, this novel is a rich exploration of Mary's relationship with her father, of her need for Robert, and the way in which, through each, she comes to a clearer understanding of love.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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